In a favourable turn of events, all-rounder Hardik Pandya could return to bowling duties in the upcoming match between India and New Zealand in the ICC T20 World Cup 'Super 12' game on October 31. The clash against New Zealand is like a virtual do-or-die situation for India.
Pandya was seen practicing bowling in the nets on Friday morning in a short video posted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The video showed India's nets session where Pandya while not bowling at full tilt, could be spotted rolling his arm over and sending down at least half-a-dozen deliveries.
The 28-year-old had taken a break from bowling after he underwent back surgery in 2018. Even during the Indian Premier League (IPL) duties in the Dubai leg, Pandya played as a batter only.
His bowling workloads were steadily increased during India's tour of Sri Lanka in July, where he bowled 16 overs across three ODIs and a T20I. However, he did not bowl at all for the Mumbai Indians in the second half of the Indian Premier League season in Dubai.
Pandya did not bowl in India's tournament-opening 10-wicket loss against Pakistan either, although, he was off the field for the entirety of the innings after hurting his shoulder while batting.
Speaking ahead of India's first game against Pakistan, captain Virat Kohli had said that Pandya was on course to bowl at the tournament.
"I honestly feel that Hardik Pandya presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament," Kohli said.
India next play New Zealand on October 31, with both teams desperate for points after each losing their first fixture against Pakistan